11 p.m. update: Unofficial numbers show Congressman Jim Himes blowing away Republican Dan Debicella in Bridgeport while running competitive in several suburban towns.
Superior Court orders half city polling places remain open until 10 p.m. It’s gonna be a long night, and into tomorrow. These precincts were open until 10:
Unofficial returns from 8 p.m. poll closures:
Malloy 778, Foley 75,
Himes 748, Debicella 63
Longfellow (partial, waiting on hand counts):
Malloy 375, Foley 63
Himes 375, Debicella 59
Musto 360, Pia 64
Malloy 864, Foley 94
Himes 875, Debicella 89
Malloy 955, Foley 44
Blackham (partial, waiting on hand counts):
Malloy 1213, Foley 483
Himes 1245, Debicella 457
Central (partial waiting on hand counts):
Malloy 1019, Foley 345
Himes 1067, Debicella 305
It’s messy out there. It’s angry. It’s ugly. Bridgeport has 25 voting precincts. Close to half have run out of ballots and voters walked away in disgust by the dozens, and it might have been hundreds before the polls close at 8 p.m. At Central High School, 5:30 p.m. the line was out the door of folks waiting for ballots to arrive. How could this happen? This is a gigantic botch job by the registrar’s office.
Pols on the ground say the Obama factor has worked, juicing many more voters to the polls following the president’s Saturday visit to the city. But election-day incompetency has thrown a grenade into voter turnout.
Black Rock School, the highest percentage turnout precinct in the city, will eclipse 50 percent. They ran out of ballots at Black Rock School as well as at Winthrop and Blackham and Read. At Black Rock they replenished with the wrong ballots before the mistake was discovered, and apparently a dozen or so of the incorrect ballots (from another state assembly district) were scanned through the voting machine. A machine was temporarily shut down until elections officials could sort it out. So now several city precincts are using copies of ballots. Copies cannot be run through the scan reader. Thousands of ballots will be set aside to be hand counted. Yikes! At Winthrop several city voters walked away in disgust over the ballot snafu. Lawyers from several campaign camps will be weighing in.
Voter performance was high in the traditional larger-turnout areas such as North End precincts Blackham and Winthrop where State Rep. Chris Caruso and supporters are directing voter turnout for the Democrats. Caruso reports that dozens of voters, primarily African Americans, walked away from polling places in disgust waiting for ballots to arrive at Read School.
One surprise area is the large turnout at City Hall, one of the city’s smallest precincts with about 900 registered voters. Many of the new downtown residents living in the Citytrust Building are coming out.
Former Town Chair John Stafstrom and former State Rep. Americo Santiago are directing the turnout operation for most of the rest of the city from Dem headquarters on North Avenue. And Town Chair Mario Testa also has a targeted get out the vote operation from his Madison Avenue restaurant.
Will it all be enough to help save Congressman Jim Himes who’s in a dogfight with Republican Dan Debicella, and help propel Dan Malloy governor? The Debicella model has him winning 16 of the 17 communities in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, getting blown out in Bridgeport, but winning. That model also has Debicella winning cities Stamford and Norwalk that Himes won in the Barack 2008 landslide.
The Himes model has him staying competitive in some suburban communities and running up a mega Bridgeport number. And early returns show Himes performing close in several suburban communities while blowing out Debicella in Bridgeport.
The State Senate battle between Dem incumbent Anthony Musto and GOP David Pia is a mini version of Himes v. Debicella, a district that includes all of Trumbull and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe.
Final Bridgeport Election Day registration numbers:
Democrat, 43,226; Republican, 4759; Unaffiliated, 20,111; other, 160
So many potential close races. Governor, Democrat Dan Malloy, Republican Tom Foley; U.S. Senate, Democrat Dick Blumenthal, Republican Linda McMahon; U.S. House, Democrat Jim Himes, Republican Dan Debicella; State Senate, Democrat Anthony Musto, Republican David Pia. Plus all the other state constitutional offices.
I’ll be floating around the city Election Day; if I hear of anything kooky I’ll post. Please do the same. I’ll post numbers as soon as I hear after 8 p.m. It’s a long ballot with what appears to be several close races so hunker down for a long night.